Tomato and Basil Omelet — A Good Reason to Garden

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 The blog, Dave, doggies, and I are on vacation for a bit. See you soon!

Omelets are the perfect example of,

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…

Only you can eat the sad-looking/happy-tasting evidence over..and over…and over. No matter what, you’ll have breakfast, lunch, or dinner in under a couple of minutes because omelets are perfect for any meal and maybe especially so during hot muggy summer days. They’re also inexpensive, healthy, full of protein, and encourage creative invention.  Leftover chicken and cheese? Stuff that in your omelet. A bit of salsa along with a half piece of grilled zucchini? There you go.  Nothing at all but parsley? You have an herb omelet. Not even a sprig of parsley, but a tablespoon of sticky jam at the bottom of the jar? That, too, makes for a tasty omelet filling.

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Steak Salad with Frizzled Shallots, Grilled Brussels Sprouts, and Sweet Potato Chips

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Correction: If you printed this recipe on July 5, there was a mistake in the ingredients for the blue cheese salad dressing. It is corrected today, July 6. Thanks and apologies.

Mid-summer heat. I’m doing a slow burn while the garden is drooping perilously and the grass is being watered daily simply to survive. 4th of July is over and maybe you, like me, are burger-ed/brat-ed out. The thrill of the grill might be gone or at least waning. It’s the time that stretches between holidays without another one in sight until Halloween unless you count that last gasp of summer Labor Day BBQ. I kind of like that part.

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Cherry-Berry Pie for the 4th of July

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BEST SUMMER SIDES FROM MORE TIME AT THE TABLE HERE.

It’s more than ironic that many of the best fruit pies need to be made when the weather is sizzling, sultry, humid, or plain old drippy hot. As a cold-weather fiend, I particularly find this one of the most unhappy cooking situations. I am thus incredibly blessed to live in Colorado where the summer days may be hot, yes, but might also occasionally dip down into the 40’s and even more often into the 50’s with the advent of a good, old-fashioned hail and/or rain storm. In fact, nightly fifty-some temps aren’t unusual even without rain. (Of course that’s why our tomatoes don’t do squat. Thank God we have the best beer in the country to partially make up for that.)

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Cod Poached in Garlicky Broccoli Soup with Fresh Herb Salsa

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So you just can’t decide between soup and fish for dinner. Here’s your answer. Nah, that’s not what this is about. It’s more like I’m crazy about fish cooked in or right there with vegetables. The simple, clean taste in fish or seafood is perfect all on its own; ok, ok, ok. Grilled or sautéed white fish, for example, doesn’t need much more than a bit of butter or lemon. It’s true and I agree. I’m nothing if not crazy about something like Sole Meuniere, Grilled Salmon, or even Fish and Chips when I’m feeling skinny. But there’s more…and more– and I really like figuring that out with a bit more sophisticated dishes like:

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KIDS COOK: MAKE YOUR OWN GRANOLA

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I admit to a longtime fascination with healthy homemade granola; the blog bears me out. I make it about once a month and it’s the only breakfast cereal in my kitchen besides the whole oats I keep for oatmeal. We eat granola on yogurt with or without fruit, in a bowl with milk, as a grab and go snack, with ice cream, on vegetables, sprinkled over eggs and pancakes…the list goes on.  It’s so simple to stir up and bake a batch that I invited Alaena and Josiah (above) over to make some to take home for their own breakfasts and to see what THEY might do with granola. (One of their thoughts was with carrots. Yum!)  Continue reading

Summer Slow Cooker Shop, Chop, and Drop Soup: Ham + Lentil with Parmigiano-Reggiano

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So many slow cooker recipes indicate a “dump and cook” method, but then taste like that’s exactly what you did. (I’m not eating any food from a recipe that includes the word “dump”!)  We all wish this simple cooking method worked in just such a way–especially during the hot summer months. In truth, many meals need a bit of pre-sautéing or browning before that long simmer or they are, to my palate, steamed to death and all the same color–the very reason some good cooks tell me they tried a slow cooker once and gave it away soon thereafter.

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Whole Wheat Biscuits and Gene’s Sausage Gravy for Father’s Day

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Brunch, and maybe especially Father’s Day brunch, is one of my favorite meals! This post is dedicated to my father-in-law, Gene Morgan, a good cook who makes the very best of all Sausage Gravies.

Gene, after a lifetime career in nearly every sector of the grocery store arena, knows the food business.  Just ask him about how long green beans are picked before they’re canned, when a melon is ripe, where sugar beets are grown in the world, how coffee is stored in the warehouse, or what H.E.B. actually stands for.  He’s a fair hand in the kitchen, too, and can keep dinner coming. In fact, the man can bake when he wants to. What he’s really famous for, however, is his sausage gravy.  Well, that and being just about the biggest Illini (University of Illinois) fan in the state of Illinois. He once sported an Illini ROOM in the house, in fact, all decorated and gussied up by his wife, my mother-in-law, Lorna, who joins right in year in and year out with the Illini devotion.

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INSTANT POT: Barbecue Beef Sandwiches with Coleslaw and Spicy Pickles

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My friend Helen came over last week for an Instant Pot (IP) demonstration and to share a quick lunch we would make together. Well, actually I prepped; SHE cooked! Helen thought she wanted an Instant Pot–or similar–but needed to see it up close and personal before she made a final decision.  While she enjoyed the Cream of Pea Soup with Scallions, Mint, and Sharp Cheddar we made, she was interested in meat main dishes–thinking she’d like to skip using the stove once in a while. It’s a wonderful idea, especially come summer, but not something I’ve done a lot of.  I tested chicken recipes for America’s Test Chicken last year (see their new book!) and the rest of my electric pressure cooking has been vegetarian or oh-so-close. Just working my way through the process, I’d guess, but it was definitely time to branch out. By the way, she went home and ordered her IP! YAY!

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Best Summer Sides from More Time at the Table

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Grilled Zucchini and Corn Salad

This week marks the beginning of weekend picnics, warm holiday get togethers, nights in the backyard, weeks at the beach, days at the cabin, and all kinds of thrilling grilling on your balcony or patio!  For fun, I ran through my TOP FAVORITE original summer sides on More Time at Table and brought them all together in one place just before Memorial Day.  I’ll keep perusing my files and as I find other luscious things I think you’d like, I’ll stick them in.  Be cool!

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Cherry-Almond Breakfast Scones for a Royal Wedding Morning (Jammies Allowed!)

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Scones bring to mind something akin to a slow-paced and leisurely ambling sunny afternoon with time for a visit to the local tea shop or maybe a hour or two on the porch with a friend who happens to like to bake. Perhaps there’s a can’t-put-it-down novel to read while you nibble and sip or a string quartet playing in the next room…  (Sigh, sigh.)

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